The Loop

Disco Demolition Was 35 Years Ago This Saturday

Saturday, July 12th marks the 35th anniversary of Disco Demolition, The Loop’s legendary 1979 event that still evokes both laughter and criticism to this day.

Mike Veeck worked behind the scenes at Chicago’s Comiskey Park where his father, Bill Veeck, was owner of the White Sox. It was there that he collaborated with The Loop’s Steve Dahl to put on Disco Demolition Night, a double-header game where fans could get a 98 cent ticket if they brought a disco album to be destroyed.

Dahl said, “The disco culture represents the surreal, insidious, weird oppression because you have to look good, you know, tuck your shirt in, perfect this, perfect that.” “It is all real intimidating. Besides the heavy sociological significance,” he continued, “it is just fun to be a pain in the ass to a bunch of creeps.”

The White Sox had been pulling crowds of six or so thousand, but on this night an officially estimated 59,000 fans packed Comiskey Park.  Several thousand more were outside the park trying to get tickets (some managed to climb over the walls) and perhaps a few thousand more were hopelessly stuck in a massive traffic jam on the Dan Ryan Expressway.  

After the first game, Dahl entered the field wearing an Army helmet and leading a “Disco Sucks!” chant.  Then he ceremoniously used fireworks to blow up a crate filled with disco records. And all hell broke loose.

Disco Demolistion has been called a riot, a modern equivalent of a book-burning, and a sublime moment of cultural upheaval. Thousands of discophobic fans stormed onto the field, tearing up clumps of sod, burning signs, knocking over a batting cage and flinging records like Frisbees. By the time the field was cleared, the grounds were (as the Chicago Tribune described it), “little more than a grassy moonscape.” The second game was canceled and later awarded to the Detroit Tigers by forfeit.


Mike Veeck was banned from Major League Baseball for years. Steve Dahl gained national attention and became one of Chicago’s most legendary and infamous radio personalities.

Were you there?  Tell us what it was like below.

Chris Sanchez produced this 35th anniversary video to the music of My Generation.